In Donal's own words, 'I’m a self taught home cook who writes and photographs food for a living. I’ve been cooking from an early age ...
For the Pastry:
900g (2lb) self-raising flour
225g (8 oz) butter
110g (4 oz) lard or mutton dripping
1 heaped teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
900g (2lb) lean mutton
Salt and pepper
1 small onion, grated or finely chopped
2 tsp fresh mint, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried milk, to glaze
To make the pastry, mix the salt into the sifted flour, then rub in the fats and gradually add about a cup of water, mixing well, until the dough is firm but not dry. Roll into a ball and chill.
Trim the meat of fat and gristle, and if you can tell that it is tender, use it raw, but if you are in any doubt, boil it in water to cover for half an hour, together with any bones you have trimmed off. Cut it into very small pieces, season well and mix with the onion and herbs.
Roll out more than half the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 circles about 10 cm (4in) across. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into 12 slightly smaller circles.
Put about a twelfth of the meat mixture onto each of the smaller circles, dampen the outer edges, then lay a larger circle on top of each. Press down and crimp with the prongs of a dampened fork. Make a small slit in the top of each to let the steam out and brush with a little milk. Put onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for 15 minutes.
Lower the heat to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3 and cook for a further 45 minutes if you used raw meat; reduce the cooking time by 20 minutes if it was cooked.